So I’ve Also Been Reading: Runaways by Brian K. Vaughn and Adrian Alphona (artist)

runaways In July, one of favorite authors, Rainbow Rowell  announced her next project would be writing a new series of Marvel’s Runaways, we were intrigued.  True I was hoping she would be releasing a new novel.  It’s been over a year since Carry On came out.  I wasn’t all that familiar with Runaways. I knew of them from all the years shelving graphic novels while working at Barnes and Noble but never really paid much attention.  Well, the Runaways are having a moment.  Not only are they being revived by Rowell but next year Hulu is premiering a TV show based on them.  I’m a big fan of Rowell’s.  I enjoy her writing so for the first time I’m going to read issue by issue instead of waiting for Trades to come out because let’s be honest, even with a star writer and an only cult following there is no guarantee that they will come out in trade.  I didn’t even know you could pre-order comic books like you can book books!  It’s a whole new world for me people.  I’ve decided that even though Rowell’s Runaways is a reboot so I don’t need to be a fan to runaway, I would go ahead and read the previous stories.  So far, I’ve made it through the original series by Brian K. Vaughn and artist Adrian Alphona (2003-2004) and they are delightful.  I can see why so many people latched on to them.  It follows a group of teenagers with seemingly nothing in common except for once a year they are forced together as their parents get together to catch up and fund raise for charities.  Alex, Nico, Karolina, Gert, Chase and Molly discover that their parents are not who they think they are.  They are in fact super-villains and they call themselves the Pride.  They runaway as they try to figure out what to do next.  They also discover that some of them have powers of their own.  Molly is mutant with super strength.  Karolina is actually from another planet and has the ability to fly and glow. Nico is a kind of a sorceress who can cast spells. Gert has a psychic connection to a dinosaur.  That’s right a dinosaur!  Being a teenager is hard enough but being a teenager on the run from your evil parents while trying to figure out how to use your powers is down right stressful!  It’s a full cast of diverse characters with different backgrounds and different personalities.  I’m quite enjoying them.  Now on to the next series.

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Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Narrator Reading Challenge UPDATE

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We are now halfway through June so I can accurately say we are halfway through the year.  It’s time to check in and see how we are doing with our reading challenges.  This year we decided to split up our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge into two different.  One for authors and one for narrators.  I’m doing the Narrators and I have to say, I’m doing pretty well.  Now, I think there may be a few arguments over some of my books but who doesn’t love a good debate?  Going off my list of the books I’ve read, I discovered that there were a few things we should have discussed before setting the challenge out.  For instance, can you use the same book for different categories if they have more then one Narrator?  I’m going to go with yes because you are getting different perspectives from different characters.  So  here we go.

  1.  Book with a Queer Narrator: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan.  Narrator: Apollo.  Ok, so this maybe a stretch because as Kate asked me Can we apply modern categories of sexuality to ancient Gods?  Well I don’t know, but in The Dark Prophecy, Apollo is currently exiled to Earth as a mortal and while being on Earth has shown equal interest in both Men and Women.  So, in the context of the book, I’m counting it.
  2. Book with a African American Narrator: March Vols. 1-3 by Congressman John Lewis. Narrator: John Lewis
  3. Book with characters from various socio-economic backgrounds Silver Stars by Michael Grant.  Narrators: Frangie, Rainey and Rio
  4. Books with Asian American Narrator: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Narrators: Lara Jean and Daniel.  I decided to count both since they are both Asian Americans but they have very different perspectives on growing up in America.  Lara Jean is definitely your more typical middle class teenage girl who grew up in the suburbs.  She’s also mixed because of her Dad is white so she straddles both sides.  Daniel grew up in New York City and is the son of two immigrant parents. (I thought about using Natasha from The Sun is also a Star as my African American Narrator but technically speaking she’s not American as her family was living in the US illegally)
  5. Book with a Narrator who has survived abuse: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Narrator : Feyre.  I really could have picked any character in this book but since it’s all from Feyre’s point of view she gets the top billing.
  6. A Book with a Mexican Narrator: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Narrator: Cristina.  I admit I maybe stretching it a little thin with this one.  Cristina is one of six narrators in Lord of Shadows and not one of the two main characters but she is an important to the story as a whole so for now I’m counting it but it might change before the year is out.
  7. A Book with a Muslim Narrator: Ms. Marvel Vols. 2-4 by G. Willow Wilson. Narrator: Kamala
  8. A Book with a Jewish Narrator: Silver Stars by Michael Grant. Narrator: Rainey I know that I have already used Silver Stars before but Rainey is a fascinating character.  I love reading her.
  9. A Book with an atheist Narrator: Believe Me by Eddie Izzard. Narrator: Eddie Izzard.  He doesn’t go too much into his atheism but he does make it very clear he doesn’t believe in any god.

9 out of 15 is pretty good.  Even if you take out the few iffy ones, I’m still over halfway done with my challenge.  How are you doing?

Ms. Marvel is the hero we need now

ms-marvel-trump If you are like Kate and I then you are horrified about the actions of the current administration. All throughout the campaign, through his transition period, we were told not to take what Trump says seriously. He isn’t going to build a wall. He wasn’t going to ban an entire religion. He has seriously begun one and made steps to do the other. I’m almost afraid to turn on the news or go online. Even if you try to avoid social media, you can’t escape the outside world entirely.  Really, for the first time, I truly feel afraid. I have now lived in New York City for almost nine years.  I work on the World Trade Center.  Everyday I am reminded of the terrible effects of what terrorism does to people, to cities, to nations and to the world.  I see the hatred, but I also see what comes after.  The love and caring for perfect strangers, the kindness that brings us all together after such horrific events.  Since moving to New York, there have been two possible attacks and yet I have never been afraid.  I have never been scared of being injured in a terrorist attack until the last couple of days.  In one day, he has made us more of a target than we were before.  He turned his back on our American ideals. I understand wanting to keep our country safe.  I want to keep our country safe and the current Immigration Order will in no way keep us safe.

Last year I started reading Ms. Marvel Graphic Novels.  Ms. Marvel’s alter-ego is Kamala Khan,  a Pakistani-American Muslim teenager from New Jersey.  She is a normal American teenager.  She reads comics and writes fan-fiction about the Avengers. When she meets her idols like Wolverine and Captain America she freaks out like any of us would.  She cares for her friends and her family. Like most kids, she toes the line between fitting with her friends and making her parents proud.  She is full of confidence and insecurities. She has doubts and fears about what she has done and what she could do.  When she comes into her power, the first thing she does is save a fellow student who bullied her earlier in the comic without hesitation.  When her best friend’s brother gets in trouble, she puts her fear aside and puts on her costume and goes to the rescue.  She does this because her religion tells her to help others if she has the ability to.  Isn’t that what we all should strive for?  Isn’t that what we all should be doing?  If you have the ability to help someone, shouldn’t you?  Even if they are a stranger to you?  Kamala Khan is a brave girl who goes out into her community and her city and helps those in need because she loves her city and community.  She is brave. Muslim, Christian, Jewish, White, Black, Asian, LGBTQ+. We could all use a little bit of bravery right now.  We all could use a little Ms. Marvel in us and we need to remind our representatives and our President of that, too.  Ms. Marvel and Kamala Khan are the Heroes we need right now.

Quick Review: Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

adulthoodIt’s the universal truth that being an adult sucks.  Even though today is my day off, I should be working.  I have staff reviews to write, sales data to analyze and what am I doing?  Flipping through Sarah Scribbles tumblr because as I said, being an adult sucks. You have probably seen Sarah’s work on Facebook because I’m sure one of your friends has shared it.  It seems like Sarah has taped into all the stress, anxiety, and fears of what it’s like to be an adult right now and probably ever.  How we all rather sleep or read then go to work or go outside.  That it would be so much easier if we just didn’t have deal with things but we do. At Book Riot Live this past weekend, Sarah was there to play a little game of Pictionary and since her publisher was a sponser they gave out her book for free.  It was a wonderful surprise.  Before the game started I sat in my seat giggling at all the comics and thinking this is all too real.  Some of the comics I have read before but there was a couple of new ones.  They were all great and wonderful and another reminder that I’m not alone.  There are so many others out there that feel the same way as I do.  It just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  Adulting is hard but at lease with Sarah Scribbles we can all laugh at it.

Review: Crecy by Warren Ellis

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I’m pretty sure that I read this graphic novel when it first came out but, I recently moved and in all the packing I came across it and decided it was time to pick it up and read it again.

 

 

The year is 1346 and then English army is outnumbered outside of the village of Crecy. They’ve run a shock-and-awe campaign, attacking villages and just generally making mayhem but now they have to stand and fight. French forces with mounted knights and hired crossbowmen go up against English longbows and other fighters a battle that would have a major impact on the Hundred Years war. The story is centered around one longbowman as he moves through the French countryside and prepares for battle.

 

This is a quick read about a piece of English history. It is pretty good. A little sweary and sometimes a little gross, but that is in line with the subject material. So, if you’re looking for a little history but you aren’t into reading a long tome, I say give this a try.

 

 

Review: Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick

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In this dystopian future, Non-compliant women are shipped off to a prison planet where they are kept out of the population and away from the compliant women. They are separated so that they do not destroy society. And, so that they do not infect other women with their non-compliance.
The prison is awful. Women are beaten. They are spied on. They are occasionally murdered by the guards (sometimes on the request of someone in the prison’s administration. Sometimes to protect compliant women from being confused with non-compliant women. Like, if your new husband’s ex-wife is non-compliant and a warrant is issued for her arrest but they get confused and arrest the wrong Mrs….well, what’s a girl to do?)
The women of the prison planet (colloquially known as Bitch Planet) are given the opportunity to play in a competition of a sport some people call dua mille and some people call Megaton. The sport seems to be a no-holds-barred life or death kind of rugby. You can have as many players as you like as long as the total weight of your entire team is 2,000 pounds. (Hence the name of the game). The women could win their freedom but the cards are stacked against them. Even in their practices they are not safe from an unholy level of violence, scheming and trickery. But, they have a few secret weapons.  But, no spoilers so this is where this description stops.
Oh my god. This comic. This comic is soooo good. The art is great. The colors are muted but still there. Especially in the prison. The places where they are the most vibrant are on TV broadcasts. We see compliant women and bright, pastel colors and it really seems forced, which was perfect. The characters, at least the prisoners, are sympathetic. I so want them to win. At everything. Forever. There are a few characters on the outside as well who are sympathetic. And, it ended on a huge cliffhanger. Huge enough that, even though I waited for the first collected volume to come out, I’ve since picked up the individual issues to catch up. (Of course, there was no wisdom in that since I haven’t had time to catch up. But, such is life.)
This counts as my non-super hero comic in the Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives challenge.

 

Review: Civil War by Mark Millar

civil warI have to remind myself that the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is not the same as Marvel Comic Universe. The Captain America and Iron Man that we have grown to love in the movies are not exactly the same in the comics.  They may share some story lines, traits and beliefs but really they are different characters.  As is the story is going to be a different story then the movie.  For one thing thing, in the comic the story relies kinda heavily on the involvement of both the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, both teams that do not exist in the MCU.  So the reasons why the registrations of Superhero’s is necessary had to be changed but the central argument seems to be the same.  To have a governing body to oversee superhero activities or continue to have autonomy on their work.  I can understand both sides.  On one hand, just because you have super human abilities does not mean you are or should be above the law and do what ever you like and then force other people to pay to clean up your mess.  On the other hand, you can’t force someone to work for someone without a choice of employers.Not everyone has the same prioritize and they shouldn’t be forced to submit to others.  I’m not sure how it’s going to play out in the movie since it doesn’t come out until Friday but I feel like the in the comic they were definitely more Team Captain.  Team Iron Man was doing all sorts of shady things.  Cloning older superheroes and creating new ones who will follow their directions.  Release super villains to track down the rebelling superheroes.  Who is supervising them?  The more I read the more I felt that people’s anger was misplaced.  What started it all was a few Mutants (were they actually X-men?) are filming a reality TV show.  They track down other mutants in Stanford, Connecticut. Even though they know they are out matched and they confront them anyway for the sake of better ratings.  They end up dying and taking with them a whole bunch of kids from a near by school. Now this is truly a tragedy but why blame all superheroes and not the producers and the network of the show that pushed them to get bigger rantings.  I haven’t read all the Civil War collections, as I see their are many, so maybe there are more to this then just that but it seems to me this is blaming all for the actions of few.  Say, like blaming the all Muslims for the actions of terrorist even though majority of Muslims live peaceful lives are are just as angry and appalled by the actions of Isis as everyone else.  Captain America, The Falcon, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four Spider-Man and so on are not going out looking for trouble they are only responding when there is.  That’s a big difference.  Maybe regulations should be made but this all of nothing solution that is presented in this is probably not the way.  I found this book to be enjoyable.  Gave me a lot to think about.  Not sure if if really prepared me for what’s to come in the movie since as I said in the beginning these are different beasts but I’m glad I did.

Review: Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier: The Man on the Wall vol. 1

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I may have fallen into a stack of comic books the last couple of months and I’m only now resurfacing. I would apologize but Beth would just roll her eyes at me certain in her knowledge that in a few weeks I’ll become obsessed with something else and disappear down that rabbit hole.

Over Christmas, I read a number of Captain America titles and then decided to read some Winter Soldier titles as well. While I am a huge fan of Captain America everywhere (and a fan of Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan) I’m not really all that into the MCU’s Bucky Barnes. He just seems like a skirt-chasing dick who occasionally turns up and helps Steve Rogers end a fight. (Or, he starts the fight. Whatever, fights occur as a function of his existence.) So, I decided that I needed to give print Bucky a go and see if he and I clicked.

He and I click. (Well, I like him. He’s fictional and thus has no opinion on me.)

This Bucky spends a lot of time in space fighting aliens (and stealing baby aliens and then trying to hide the fact that he’s stolen a baby alien. “Pay no attention to the small creature I’m feeding under the table!”). This is a Bucky that turns up on a planet, gets caught by the planetary guards and when he is asked what he wants says, “A date?” (Based on his results I’d say this is a solid strategy.) This Bucky cracks me the fuck up. This Bucky I could have a cup of coffee with. (I don’t know why that’s important to me, but apparently it is.) Also, this Bucky wouldn’t talk to you before having said cup of coffee.  This is also important since I pretty much run on coffee and spite.

There’s mayhem in the multiverse, and aliens, and gun play and Tremors (who you might now know from watching Agents of Shield!). So, I’m pretty into this and have already started volume 2.